DEC. 21. ADVENT. WK. 4. MON. (B) LK. 1. 39-45.
Mary set out and went as quickly as she could to a town in the hill country of Judah. She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. Now as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She gave a loud cry and said, ‘Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord? For the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy. Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.’
It is interesting to note Mary’s response to being told she is to become the Mother of God, a message she would have slowly came to belief, along with the enormous responsibilities, some of which would have been immediately apparent to her; - but there were many that still had to be revealed?
I think most people, on hearing directly from the Creator of the Universe, and being told that, as a result, there life would be changed forever, would have gone off to the temple to pray, and after that they would have gone into seclusion to simply “be with God” and try to comprehend “what has just happened”.
But this was not Mary’s response! I am sure she would have given time to prayer, and she also had to talk with St Joseph but, with those tasks out of the way, she immediately thought of her cousin Elizabeth, who was well advanced in years, and who would have greatly appreciated some assistance, so off Mary went on a journey of a number of days, to help her cousin.
Let there be no doubt; - this was an act of pure love! There was no obligation on Mary to do this but it does reveal the type of person she was; - a generous soul who cared for others, even when it involved personal sacrifice. It is easy to assume from this, and her being chosen by God, that she was someone in whom the Holy Spirit was already dwelling?
And we see this played out when she arrives at Elizabeth’s house. “Now as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit”. It would be hard to imagine a more direct sign from God that these two women had been given a unique responsibility directly from their Creator?
And Elizabeth then went on to bear further witness to the fact that the Holy Spirit was dwelling in them both when she said to Mary: “‘Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord? For the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy. Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.’
And then we have the simple fact that these momentous events have been recorded for us in the Gospels, a further sign of the actions of the Holy Spirit in revealing them to all generations until the end of time. It is a sad fact that because of our familiarity with these revelations we do not pause in wonder, as Mary and Elizabeth would have done, as we are talking about the Wisdom and Love of Almighty God for his People; - despite the fact we are all sinners?
It is easy, on considering these events, to think how blessed these two women were, but I think we need to appreciate these events were not blessings to only Mary and Elizabeth but to every human being on the face of the planet, being the start of God’s redemptive plan for us sinners?